he Materials Engineering and Processing (MEP) program supports fundamental research addressing the processing and mechanical performance of engineering materials by investigating the interrelationship of materials processing, structure, properties and/or life-cycle performance for targeted applications.
Materials processing proposals should focus on manufacturing processes that convert material into useful form as either intermediate or final composition. These include processes such as extrusion, molding, casting, deposition, sintering and printing. Proposed research should include the consideration of cost, performance, and feasibility of scale-up, as appropriate. Novel processes for the production of nanoscale materials (nanotubes, nanocrystals, etc.) are of interest. Process optimization studies without a fundamental scientific contribution are not supported.
Research proposals related to mechanical performance should be driven by a targeted application(s). Structural materials that, in service, bear mechanical load are of interest. These include materials such as metals, polymers, composites, biomaterials, ceramics, hybrids and cement, intended for applications ranging from the microscale (e.g., MEMS) to the macroscale (e.g., civil infrastructures). Research related to the deterioration of performance during service (e.g., corrosion and degradation) is also of interest.
In some cases, the performance of functional materials is also of interest. This includes materials that possess native properties and functions that can be controlled by external influences (e.g., temperature, light and pH) as well as responsive materials (e.g., piezoelectric, chromogenic, shape memory and self-healing). Research proposals on performance of electronic materials to be used for energy storage or conversion (e.g., fuel cells, batteries and PVs) are not appropriate for the MEP program. One exception to this would be for proposals related to multifunctional (versus a single function) material performance that include a consideration of mechanical performance. Proposals on this topic are encouraged.
Research plans driven by scientific hypotheses are encouraged. Material structures across length scales ranging from nano to meso to macro are of interest. Research on materials in the bulk or in special configurations such as surfaces or interfaces is appropriate as are research proposals related to surface engineering or tribology. Analytical, experimental, and/or numerical studies are supported. Collaborative proposals with industry (GOALI) are encouraged.
Proposals related to additive manufacturing, laser processing or bonding/joining processes are welcome in CMMI and should be submitted to the Manufacturing Machines and Equipment (MME) program, even if the focus of such proposals is on the materials for those processes. Proposals addressing the manufacture (scale up, quality, reliability, etc.) of nanoscale materials, structures, devices and systems should be submitted to the Nanomanufacturing (NM) program. Proposals addressing atomic/molecular scale synthesis or thin film synthesis (as opposed to manufacturing) are not appropriate for the MEP program. Research proposals on electronic materials to be used for energy storage or conversion (e.g., fuel cells, batteries, PVs) are not appropriate for the MEP program unless there is new science being proposed about manufacturing processes for these materials. Research on the mechanics of solid materials should be directed to the Mechanics of Materials (MoM) program. Investigators with proposals focused on design methodological approaches and theory enabling the accelerated development and insertion of materials should consider the Design of Engineering Material Systems (DEMS) program. In response to the Materials Genome Initiative, there is a special initiative for research on a combined theoretical and experimental approach to accelerate materials discovery and development; such proposals should be directed to the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF) opportunity.
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